At first everyone was really sad that Knopwoods was closing. They then remembered that Knopwoods hadn’t been any good for years and celebrations ensued as The Whaler sailed into port.
Publican Ben Hickey, already well known in the hospitality scene as the man behind Beerfest and Mobius, has maintained the easy going and friendly vibe of the previous tenancy while introducing some much needed changes: The finest local and international craft beers on tap and food, such glorious food.
I’m not actually that much of a beer drinker, but those that know about such things have talked with excitement about this joint. Cider is more my thing and the Willie Smith’s and Bad Man on offer are both very good choices although I’d like to see some more interesting ones. It’s all well priced and there’s a large range of wine and spirits as well.
While the inside is more the place for winter, with a prominent open fireplace featuring, the outdoor area is a comfortable and casual place to while away some time. It’s a welcoming area and somewhat of an oasis amongst the other establishments. Music is enjoyable without being intrusive.
The menu has expanded in short time from an initial offering of chips and fried chicken to an exciting assortment of bar snacks and burgers. It’s a great place for either a casual meal or a long grazing session while working through the taps.
There’s around half a dozen different variations on the humble chip on offer including the delicious 24 hour Pulled Pork and Pineapple fries and Rita’s Red Bean and Cheese Fries. The chips are good, crispy and fresh and the toppings abundant and flavourful.
It’s all really enjoyable, unpretentious and fun. “Not your average Cheeseburger” certainly lived up to its name as one of the best I’ve ever enjoyed, packed full of flavour. The corn was fresh and juicy and the fried chicken tender making me want more. And more was had. The chicken burger. Oh that chicken burger….
I’m wanting another right now. Great combination of flavours and textures from the juicy chicken to the fresh slaw to the bite and smokiness of the chipotle sauce and the crispy bacon pulling it all together. This is a great burger and reason enough to give them a visit.
The Whaler is situated at 39 Salamanca Place and open noon til late with kitchen closing at 9pm. Check out their Facebook page for updates on what’s pouring.